In the middle of July, I travelled to the city of Antwerp in Belgium for our project OptimEx. OptimEx is a multicenter study focusing on exercise as medicine for diastolic heart failure. OptimEx is a collaboration between CERG at NTNU, Technische Universität München, Antwerp University Hospital, Universität Leipzig and University of Graz.
In this project several measurements will be done on our patients, among some; blood sampling, VO2 max testing, ultrasound of the heart, and vascular function measurements of the arteries. Since this will be an international study it is important that everything is standardized and that every center collects and processes the data in the exact same way. Only then will we be able when analyzing our data to compare the results from the different centers and know that the results we find are actual, and not due to variation in the data collection. This is crucial in research and an important part in planning the project.
In order to meet the high standard we aim for, each center is set to be the core lab for each method, and that center has the responsibility of certifying the personnel at the other centers in that particular method.
This July, all centers that will perform vascular function analysis were represented in Antwerp, and we had demonstrations in the lab from the excellent vascular function group there, we did a lot of training and finally reached the criteria for certification.
We are colleagues even though we work in different countries and meeting each other and working through the protocols together in the lab makes us learn so much from each other! Also it makes it easier for us to communicate during all the small and big steps of planning and conducting the project.
We always have to make time for social happenings when we get together, and in Antwerp we had some Belgian beer tasting, as well as a nice dinner with a fantastic view of the Antwerp skyline.
Atefe Tari, Staff engineer at CERG